LIMA — For conductor Nadège Foofat, her style comes down to two major things — inclusivity and community.
Foofat will open the Lima Symphony Orchestra’s new season with a truly all-American program that will feature composers Jennifer Higdon and Aaron Copland, as well as Antonín Dvorák’s Symphony No. 9, “From the New World.”
“We in the United States in the symphonic world have played so many European masterworks, and still continue to play European masterworks more than any other repertoire,” Foofat said. “While there’s definitely room for these European masters, we need to cultivate and support our own artists and composers. … That’s for me really important, that the people in Lima know they can be proud of this great work we have, and there’s so much great American music out there.”
Much like Lima Symphony Orchestra’s season, Foofat’s will also be an auditioning process as she is a music director candidate for several other orchestras, looking for that perfect match.
“I think there needs to be a match of vision between myself and the musicians, staff and board of the organization. For me, what’s really important is to feel like I can have an impact in the community,” she explained.
Foofat got the chance to meet LSO Executive Director Elizabeth Brown-Ellis and other board members at last year’s Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview. She said she immediately felt connected to the orchestra’s work “beyond the normal symphonic work.”
“That’s what excites me about the position, not so much going in and just being the conductor, but really being a leader in the community in a different way to show how music can touch different people and demographics — to show the importance of music all around culturally, and it’s not always like that,” she said.
Each conductor will have the chance to learn what Lima is all about the week of their performance with the “Mornings with the Maestro” series at the Lima Public Library and a Friends of the Symphony luncheon, among other events at local schools and local hospitals.
In terms of what a season would look like with Foofat at the helm next year, she said that is still to be determined.
“I would have to get to know the orchestra and spend some time with the community and then design a program that matches Lima’s needs. For me, it’s more about making sure that what we present is relevant to the people who are there rather than me saying, ‘This is my vision, I’m going to impose it wherever I go,’” she said. “I do have favorite composers that I would probably want to bring in and also some new music. I think new American music would be there in some way during the season.”
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.